Manchester City’s two-year ban from European competition could have a number of implications for the club.
As well as losing access to the prestigious and lucrative Champions League, there could be further ramifications affecting coaching personnel and the squad.
Here, the PA news agency analyses some of the potential consequences for the reigning Premier League champions.
The key question for City surrounds the future of their world-class manager, Pep Guardiola. The club saw him as the final piece of the jigsaw when they brought him to the Etihad Stadium, the man who could transfer their domestic success onto the European stage. Guardiola himself often speaks of the Champions League as being the most beautiful competition. Winning it has been the chief ambition for the club and Guardiola for some time and, without the carrot of that involvement, speculation over the Spaniard’s commitment will increase. His contract runs until 2021 but there have been claims it contains a break clause – denied by the former Barcelona and Bayern Munich boss – that he could leave this summer. He has repeatedly insisted he intends to fulfil his deal, despite numerous rumours to the contrary, but now people will wonder if this could change the picture.
Future of key players
As well as Guardiola, City may be concerned about the future of a number of their star players. Most of their prized assets – Leroy Sane being the notable exception – are committed to long-term deals but this situation is something other clubs may try to take advantage of. Players such as Raheem Sterling, 25, and Kevin De Bruyne, 28, are in their prime and could become targets for some of Europe’s giants. Sergio Aguero, 31, also continues to excel at the highest level and would have no shortage of suitors as his contract, due to expire in 2021, runs down.
Impact on potential signings
With Champions League football, Guardiola at the helm and a star-studded squad – not to mention vast financial resources – City have had huge pulling power when it comes to signings. But with the first of those factors gone, and if that leads to the end of the other two as well, the task of signing players will get harder. They would not even be able to offer players the incentive of joining a team that could qualify for the Champions League if the ban is not reduced. City are unlikely to end up shopping in the bargain basement but elite players and their agents will certainly take the matter into consideration.
Complicating the search for Guardiola’s successor
Even without this situation, Guardiola’s long-term future was unclear. Thought will already have been given to what happens when he leaves. The club were shopping at the top of the market when they brought the former Barcelona boss in and they would expect to be able to do so again. This ban could throw a spanner in the works.
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